Resolute Girl

This world of ours is a new world, in which the unit of knowledge, the nature of human communities, the order of society, the order of ideas, the very notions of society and culture have changed, and will not return to what they have been in the past. What is new is new, not because it has never been there before, but because it has changed in quality.
~ J. Robert Oppenheimer

2009 is about to go out the window. A new decade is starting in a a century that a mere 10 years ago had caused panic. No one knew what 2000 would bring and fear that everything would go up in flames, or at least the hard drives would crash, dominated. But still the world is continuing. This is the last Broken Girl entry of the year and I promise to return to my chronology with the coming year, but the holidays have broken that train of thought.

For some reason I have seen a metamorphosis within myself and I am pleased with the results. I only hope I can maintain the momentum through the next year. I equate myself to a bright star. I burn brightly with furious fires only to burn out quickly because such intensity cannot sustain itself. So onto the resolution for the coming year. The things I wish to change so I can retain this course of action.

1. Use the gym membership. I was doing very well until health issues came up in November and then the holidays made it a losing battle. I have 10 months before Dad's wedding and by God I am going to be at least 2 dress sizes smaller! That is not that much to ask is it?

2. Writing goal of at least one submission per quarter. This has been the same goal for the last two years and I've been successful in keeping it. Not so successful in acceptance letters, but at least I am doing something. I am not giving up. I should do a word amount for the day or week but I haven't been able to maintain that since Arizona, six years ago.

3. I am going to be happy. I'm shedding the critical skin and going to accept things. This means that I will be happy in my own skin. I was talking with my counselor the other day and she made a comment that stuck: Compliments mean nothing if you don't feel them. That's been a problem of mine. I haven't felt beautiful or sexy or sweet. Suddenly I've been told that I'm all of these from numerous sources. So who's the one who's wrong? I want to be all those things.

4. Lose the baggage. The past is past. It shaped who I am, it doesn't have to strangle me. This means getting rid of useless knickknacks from previous relationships. Sentimental value means nothing if its shrouded in despair. This also means getting rid of the negative people in my life. Of course that's difficult when one of them birthed me, but I don't have to listen anymore.

5. Be assertive. I've taken small steps this past year in this arena and its time to let fury roll. Ok, that's extreme, but I am not letting myself be walked on anymore. I am better than that.

6. Be ok being alone.

7.Work on learning how to blog. Did a bit better this time, figured out how to insert more than one picture! That's totally worth a gold star!

I think that's it. The hours are ticking away to the new year. A bright full moon takes up the sky. I am trying to read a book that I found to be dreadful before I picked it up, but figure that if I'm going to criticize it, I should give it a fair trial. One chapter in and I'm grinding my teeth... But other than that, I have a date tonight so will ring in the New Year outside of my apartment and among other people. What a novel concept.

Happy New Year's Everyone! I hope the coming year rains blessings upon you. Thank you for your support and comments.
~Andrea Leigh

The Girl's Glad Christmas is Gone

He disliked emotion, not because he felt lightly, but because he felt deeply.
~John Buchan

The Christmas season has come and gone for another year. A new year is about to dawn and the world is continuing at its pace. Christmas didn't go so badly this year. Unfortunately, I did not make it home for the festivities. The winter weather has not made up its mind as to what it's doing and I did not want to risk an accident on the 150 miles drive home.

This led to a few problems however. It meant I spent Christmas alone for the most part and ran my phone out of minutes wishing everyone well. It also meant I didn't get to laundry and had to relent and go to an actual laundromat. I really detest paying for laundry. Since I didn't do the whole going home to laundry during college I now do it as an adult.

Dad came down and brought me my presents the day before Christmas Eve so there were things to unwrap. I'm probably the only person to be overly happy to get a garlic press and food chopper! Both of which were put to use for my Christmas Dinner of Elk Stroganoff.

And in a way of getting me out of my house my last ex-boyfriend, although the term is very loosely applied since he never would claim the title of boyfriend in spite of a year and a half of dating, decided to take me for a drive. I had been invited to his parent's/his house but as much as I adore his family it would have been awkward.

As said, we were never an official couple and when I told him six months ago we couldn't date anymore his response was: we were dating? So we were trying to be friends. Which wasn't very different than when we were dating except now we weren't supposed to sleep with each other. So we are driving and suddenly all the reasons this relationship had been wrong came out.

The first ten minutes were him going on about a group of friends that I have never really cared for and their drinking habits and the parties they've been having. All of which I really don't care about. When he finally stops his monologue to find out what's been up with me I really no longer want to even talk. I just want to criticize the stupidity of their lives and how bad it will end.

Anyway, the conversation turned to our relationship. Once again he wanted to know what boundaries and rules were to be in place since I've started seeing someone new. We have gone over this a hundred times. He admits he's dense and forgetful. So we do it again.

Then he lays the big one on me. He never felt a connection with me. A year and a half he kept me waiting to make it official and he never felt anything stronger than like and hey, this chick's willing to sleep with me so I'm gonna keep her around. He admitted that he is intimidated by my 'biker' lifestyle and success. The fact that I know where my life is headed versus living in my parent's basement and dealing blackjack at the casino made him feel less of a man. And the method to solve this emasculation? Berate me. Cut me down and make me feel like shit. But it's no fault of mine... Oh no, not at all.

He also admitted that the chick he fooled around with, he had wanted to get serious with until she went off on him. This was about eight months into what I thought was our relationship and that we were supposedly together, but he had never felt that way for me. It was why he never wanted to do anything varied in the bedroom, why he would turn away from me. There was no 'connection'.

Should it take a year and a half to figure this out? Somehow, I don't think so. So by this point in the conversation I am hurt and angry. Very, very angry. I wasted a lot of time, tears, and stress on this BOY. He had cut me down a million times, made me feel less than I am and he was OK with it. As said, dense.

Finally, I had enough of this 'heart-to-heart'. I looked at him and said: YOU FUCKED UP. He stared at me a moment and asked for clarification. So I gave it to him. I am very proud these words came out my mouth, it shows how far I've come.

I am the best girl he could have ever found. The fact that I am successful should be praised and I never through it in his face. I was nothing but supportive to him in his ventures. And, quite frankly, I kick ass!

I need to remind myself of that. I do kick ass and I am not letting some directionless idiot hold me down again. I deserve the best of the best and by God I am going to find it and keep it. Even if the best is keeping my own company then so be it. I'm done with the games.

After that little speech I made it clear I wanted to go back home. He kept trying to talk and smooth things over but I couldn't talk anymore. I was still mad. I would have said far worse things. We got to my apartment and he had the balls to ask me if we were still going to the movie Monday (today). I couldn't even answer. He tried again, asking what he could do to make it better. I said, give me the weekend, and started out the car. Then in his stupidity he asks if he can get a hug. Dense at this point doesn't describe him. Just plain stupid does.

It's Monday, I haven't phoned, I haven't texted about the movie and neither has he. Maybe it sunk in that you don't treat people the way he treated me. I went to the movie Saturday with the guy I AM seeing and who does admit we ARE dating.

Poet Girl # 1

Hope is a pleasant acquaintance, but an unsafe friend.
~Thomas Chandler Haliburton

Sliding backwards from the start
Before the beginning comes an end
Waiting always to find the pieces
Knowing that the harpies land before it
Bowing before a captured heart
Silent screams mark broken dreams
Whispered words hold deeper promise
Distance keeping my heart's holder away
Honest lies to keep the peace
Loving hands grip wounded throat
And tears slide down tainted cheeks
Meaning to it all is lost in sleep
Foolish desire to mend it all

Smile pretty girl
No one likes a frown
Doesn't matter if you mean it
Time to please the crowd
Lock away your sadness
Play to the world a happy girl
They don't want to see your tears

Smile pretty girl
Fake it for another day
Soon you'll start believing it
Hide away your pain
No one wants to see it
Crumble when no one's around
Pick yourself up in the morning
And smile

Holiday Girl

Growing up is after all only the understanding that one's unique and incredible experience is what everyone shares.
~Doris Lessing

Originally I was going to do a Girl's Gift Guide, but time is drawing short and I really have been having issue with getting things to embed in the text. But I want to explain why the happiest time of the year can be considered one of the most depressing.

I've not had much luck with Christmas. It was good when I was really little, we'd trim the tree, make cookies with Grandma, the whole shebang.

I learned that Santa needed helpers the same year that I got a new bike because said helpers were a little too loud putting things under the tree.

The Christmas Eve Eve of my tenth year changed a lot of my life.

Dad had just pulled the pizza from the oven and Mom staggered through the door. It was late in the evening and we had been waiting for her to come home for some time. Dad was angry and Mom was drunk. She mumbled a hello and went straight to my parent's bedroom.

Dad followed her. The argument that ensued has impressed itself in my memory. I don't remember words, I just know the fear that went through me. I ran to my sister's room in the basement and hid.

There was a thud from the room above and Dad started calling for me. Mom had fallen and hurt her shoulder. How it happened is a matter of He said/She said. We waited for Sis to get home then headed for the Emergency Room. Mom's collar bone was broke.

That fight was the fight that started the divorce proceedings. Christmas had a false jollity.

The years that followed were strained. Christmas Eve was at my maternal Grandma's house and often I would wait for Mom to come to see me. A lot of the time she didn't. I spent a lot of Christmases wondering why I wasn't important enough.

Last year I spent Christmas Eve with a friend and was amazed. His entire family gathered in the living room around the tree, a fire in the fireplace. It was the illusion of the perfect Christmas that I hadn't seen in years. I was never more uncomfortable!

This year, I don't know what it will bring. I'm going to spend it with Dad and his Fiance and see Grandma and Grandpa. And that feels good enough. The people who matter the most are the ones who make the time to talk to you and see you and nothing will keep that from you. It's been a hard lesson to learn, but this Christmas season, I think my wish is to let go of all the hurt and resentment of Christmases past and enjoy the one that is now and look forward to those yet to come.

Bleeding Girl

A life based on reason will always require to be balanced by an occasional bout of violent and irrational emotion, for the instinctual tribes must be satisfied.
~Cyril Connolly

There are secrets that you keep from everyone. If possible you'd keep them from yourself. You keep them locked away because you know they are wrong. That if anyone were to find out about it, you'd no longer be viewed as normal. So you pull on a mask and go through the day. Smile and Shine.

Then something cracks the mask. Covering the scars won't be so easy this time and you're exposed. You spend hours explaining to deaf ears why, but only when you swear never to do it again does anyone listen. But they never forget and even when you try so hard not to give into familiar temptation, they will accuse you of breaking your word.

I am a cutter. I have not done so for five years because I go caught. I was 1800 miles from home with not much of a support structure near me. I had just failed an assessment that was fairly critical. It didn't matter that I could take the test again; I was worthless for failing. My inner critic was being relentless, not letting up a moment. I was in the girl's restroom, a room that I usually had to myself because there were so few women in the school. I was kicking and punching walls, then I started scratching my left forearm. Over and over again in the same spot until it bled.

My instructor and the school counselor noticed. I had to be incredibly careful of keeping it clean during class. I found out I'm allergic to Neosporin and the scratch bubbled like a burn. I was urged to tell my family because it was getting so bad. I told Dad and Sis they made me promise to never do it again. My few friends in Phoenix also found and elicited the same promise.

No one really asked me why. I could simply cop out and blame a prescription change had messed with my head, but that was only part of the reason. I had lost so much control. Bleeding was release. It shut the critic's voice up. For a brief moment I could be at peace.

The Odds Are In the Girl's Favor

Nothing is so simple that is cannot be misunderstood.
~Freeman Teague Jr.

I may have the distinction of being the only girl to go to a school with a 10 to 1 guy to girl ratio and not get a date. This did not help my self-esteem. I found out why when I was 3/4s of the way through the program.

I tend to get along with people who are older than me and the old motorheads were some of my best friends. For most of these guys I was the same age as their kids (18/19), if not younger. The school worked on a six week rotation so every six weeks there was a graduation and a new class starting.

I had a really good friend named Ed. He became a kind of big brother for me. Ed was 30 with a wife, a female roommate, and a whole mess of kids between them all. I mention this to explain that there were no romantic aspirations for this relationships. He was a very unique person that I enjoyed talking to and hanging out with. His roommate actually proofread my manuscript and his oldest son started at the school while I was in.

So I was surprised to walk into class one day and have Ed start off by apologizing to me. My first thoughts were that he had screwed up the motor we were working on together. He continued and explained himself.

One of his friend's rotations had just graduated and told Ed the reason no one was hitting on me. The entire school thought I was Ed's girl and out of respect had left me alone. This was what he was apologizing for. he had set the guy straight, but it hardly mattered since he had graduated.

So I'd inadvertently sabotaged myself. In no way do I regret my friendship with Ed and I hope all is well in his life, I haven't seen or heard from/of him since my graduation. In fact our faux-relationship probably was for the best. I didn't need to be involved with someone I need to concentrate on learning torque values.

**Addendum: there was one sorta date while in school, but it was again misinterpreted. I went out with a group from ta rotation behind mine. We were having a great time and the guy, who had asked me to join them, started rubbing my leg under the table. I freaked and stopped talking to him. I tried to explain myself a few months later, but I really have a hard time expressing myself verbally and ended up in tears. My emotional immaturity wrecked what could have been a good friendship. By the way: he explained the leg rubbing as his way of reassuring me and letting me know he was glad I went out with the group. Who knows maybe it had been that innocent.**

The Girl Gets Active

It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.
~Adlai Stevenson

My time in the desert started out a very lonely one. My classes were held in the afternoon and made finding employment difficult. There were three rotations going on each day: morning, afternoon, and evening. I could have switched but it was more difficult to get into the other classes. Presumably this was do to more pro-active people who needed jobs to survive. I was overly spoiled. Due to an insurance settlement that Dad received for breaking his leg, my schooling and living expenses were pretty much set.

Don't get me wrong, I tried to find a job. I filled out a ton of applications for a total of two interviews. An eighteen year old, whose work experience consisted of putting together promotional packets (read: walk around three long tables covered in piles of paper and grabbing only two sheets from each file, then a stack of envelopes, place in packet and fold) and office girl at a junk yard; did not go over well. I had an interview during class one session. I bribed my instructors with Frappuccinos (or however it's spelled) and maintained my perfect attendance. ^_^

But how to keep my sanity in the hours not involve learning about internal combustion engines, transmissions, and lubricants?

Sis probably came up with every solution for me. She suggested I find a Writers' Group and when I went mental with stress she suggested Tai Chi.

I lucked out. The local Rec Center offered a Tai Chi class every Wednesday and for $3 I could find my inner peace. I really hadn't known much about this particular form of martial art. What is Tai Chi? Well, I'm stealing the answer from Wikianswer because I can't articulate it well enough:

Tai Chi is a Chinese exercise system that uses slow,
smooth body movements to achieve relaxation of
both body and mind.

Five essential quality of Tai Chi are:
1:Slowness= to develop awareness
2:Lightness= to make movements flow
3:Balance= to prevent body strain
4:Calmness= to maintain continuity
5:Clarity= to focus the mind

It is honestly one of the best methods out there. I witnessed something I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't been there. One of the ladies in the class had recently had a stroke. She could not walk without the use of a walker. One of the classes had us concentrating on balance and movement. I watched as this woman walked unassisted for a good twenty feet. I never saw someone so happy. It had given her her first steps of Independence. I think everyone in the class had tears in their eyes.

The class gave me something to focus on. I learned techniques of breathing to keep myself calm. I haven't really related why I really needed it. I'm getting a touch out of order with posts but with the holidays approaching I guess I'm remembering some of the mini-miracles I've witnessed, like the woman walking on her own, and of the good friends that I have.

I'm not going to add info about the Writers' Group onto this one. The Writers' Round Table of Phoenix deserves their own post. ~_^


Welcome to my little part of the blogosphere. I started this blog for the express purpose of proving that no matter what happens in life, you are not alone. I am sharing my stories from my school days, dating disasters, and personal trials.